I have met and heard the tragic stories of many parents. PA is a function, by and large, of a custodial ex-partner, although some alienation can start while the couple is still together.

This blog is a story of experiences and observations of dysfunctional Family Law (FLAW), an arena pitting parent against parent, with children as the prize. Due to the gender bias in Family Law, that I have observed, this Blog has evolved from a focus solely on PA to one of the broader Family/Children's Rights area and the impact of Feminist mythology on Canadian Jurisprudence and the Divorce Industry.

Monday, October 5, 2009

In Israel ~ The child's welfare is what counts

By Guy Raveh While the argument on the subject is marked by aggressive struggles and political considerations, empirical psychological research is increasingly confirming the importance of dividing parental responsibility between the two parents and the growing insight into the importance of maintaining the child's right to a beneficial connection with both of them. Hence, more and more countries are changing their laws to fit this approach. About a year and a half ago, the interim results of the Schnitt Committee that looked into the legal aspects of parental responsibility in divorce were published. The committee recommended the Tender Years clause, which states that children until the age of six should live with their mother, be replaced by an arrangement in which parents have joint custody without defining one of them as the main custodian. These conclusions are in keeping with the social changes that have taken place in the past few years that support the assumption that the child's best interests are the most important principle, and are in accordance with the international Convention on the Rights of the Child. Unfortunately, in the existing legal and social reality of Israel today, where the law is still old-fashioned and does not correspond with what is happening in the Western world, there is no choice but to push for custody to be divided between the two parents. And indeed, if in the past a ruling of this kind was relatively rare, it is now becoming more and more prevalent. Over the past year, two rulings were published in which it was decided there would be joint custody - against the mother's wishes. In one case, the judge in the family affairs court in the Haifa area, Marina Levy, explained the decision to grant joint custody by saying its importance went far beyond the details of any specific case. "I believe that joint custody is the best way," she said. "In a place where one can leave joint parental responsibility intact - a place of equality, caring and equal involvement despite the separation of the couple - it is worthwhile encouraging this ... In my opinion, there is no need to prove that it is in the best interest of the minors to be raised in a framework of joint custody. On the contrary, anyone who believes that it is not worthwhile to make possible ... joint custody, even though the pre-conditions exist for proper communication and physical contact between the parents, must prove this." In the second case, the judge in the family affairs court in Jerusalem, Ben-Tzion Greenberger, explained: "One cannot ignore the fact that the constitutional atmosphere of modern Israeli law has recently created a new openness to the idea of joint custody because of the wish to maintain a substantive equality in the field of family affairs if this is for the benefit of the minors." Custody, the judge stated, was not the only consideration and it was subordinate to the welfare of the child. In addition, he ruled, the request for joint custody, contrary to the request for paternal custody, did not necessarily contradict the presumption of the Tender Years doctrine. The judge quoted the mother who had asked: "What mother would separate for such long hours from her children at such a tender age?" He said that even though those words were in keeping with the statement by the researcher Dr. Daphna Hacker - according to which "the insult that accompanies a non-custodian mother lies in the structuring of the feminine gender identity," - it was not possible only for that reason to give sole custody to the mother. The judge added: "In the case under consideration ... it is clear that the children are attached to both parents in equal fashion and could benefit from being with both of them equally." It is my fervent hope that after the Knesset endorses the Schnitt Committee's recommendations in the form of a law, it will no longer be necessary to use the terms "custody" and "joint custody" in Israel. These definitions of parenting only cause unnecessary competition between the parents over the longed for title, and it is the children who are hurt by this ego contest. The writer is a member of Equal Parenting and submitted a request to a family affairs court for joint custody of his son two years ago. http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1116378.html

In Northern Ireland Real Fathers For Justice tackle Parental Alienation


Tel: 07871503189


Tel: 07545510345

29/09/2009 – ref med: 011

Dear Sir / Madame

I am contacting your organisation on behalf of Real Fathers for Justice, we are a Direct Action Parenting Group, raising public awareness and applying pressure for long overdue changes in UK Family Law.

As cited in media release ref: 009 I touched upon the emotional effects of parental separation and how if recognised this emotional trauma should be classed as emotional abuse, I will in due course create a fully referenced Parental Alienation report for N.Ireland. The term I speak of is parental alienation syndrome first highlight by Dr Richard Gardener in 1985 and defined as:

  • "Is a child's campaign of denigration against a parent that results from 'programming ("brainwashing") of the child by one parent to denigrate the other parent [and] self-created contributions by the child in support of the alienating parent's campaign."

Although this is not recognised in the UK as a syndrome the features of his work have been cited by UK lawful and social institutions as far as the High Court's (Re: C (Children) (2002) CA (Dame Elizabeth Butler-Sloss P, Thorpe LJ, Kay LJ) 20/2/2002 COURT OF APPEAL REF: 2001/1642. (Great Britain))

This topic area is by no means a small one but I will attempt to break it down to its simplest form. For a comparative look at parental alienation we can firstly compare it to Stockholm syndrome, this is where hostages undergo a psychological response to their kidnapper and show loyalty to the kidnapper regardless of the danger they are in. When compared to children a child has already through no fault lost one of its parents and will do or say anything so that it does not lose the remaining parent

There is alienation occurring in all walks of life be it racially, gender, political or community. These alienations are recognised and so to should parental alienation as the process of alienating a child from one of its parents is no different than alienating social groups.

The psychological change of parental alienation is cured in today's children by the construction and promotion of child contact centres in where a child and father gradually build up a relationship again, this type of emotional abuse is recognised by the courts when they rule that a contact centre is necessary in terms of the length of time the case takes to close, it is further heightened by the failure of our lawful and social process in terms of delay in terms of reporting the welfare of the child and in terms of not enforcing child contact orders.

From my research I can define that parental alienation can happen inadvertently or purposely, regardless of which way it happens it is emotional abuse and if it will ever be considered a syndrome in the UK will most certainly take emotional abuse to the top of child abuse figures.

In most cases of parental alienation it is the mother who is perpetrating this abuse, it begins the very moment that a parent takes a decision as an adult as the child protector to stop the child from having contact with one of its parents for no due reason. This inadvertent alienation can be seen in the example below:

  • Child has loving relationship with both parents
  • Mother is not happy with the father and with no respect to the safety or welfare of the child withholds contact
  • It could take anywhere from 8 months onwards to re-establish contact
  • Father wins contact as he has done no wrong by the child
  • When this time period has elapsed because of the time scale the parent is offered contact in a contact centre, or supervised contact by the other family
  • The reason: the child has been emotionally and psychologically damaged by the mother withholding contact and can only be cured by gradually allowing the father contact
  • The child has been emotionally and psychologically abused by the mother and the state in being allowed to withhold contact of the father for such a long period of time without due cause.

This is happening to thousands of children in N.Ireland and is a growing problem as the assembly now have taken steps to create more child contact centres. To further this is a live example of this from a RFFJ member:

  • Father had a 3 year loving bond with his child and was the main carer before and after separation
  • Mother stops contact with false allegations and is allowed to do so lawfully
  • Mother says 9 months after stopping contact through solicitor that she offered contact with the father and in the same letter also calls the father the alleged father, this defies belief as why would she offer contact to someone who is not the child's father
  • Mother lies to social services that she offered contact with the father, social services are aware that she has lied
  • Mother then tells social services that it is important that the child and father have contact
  • Mother then refuses proposed contact to the father because social services get involved
  • Social services upon seeing that the mother is obstructive and after hearing the ascertainable wish of the child who is wanting contact do nothing but aid in alienating the child against its father.

To someone reading this who have never been touched by the effects of family law may see these two examples as something that is obviously wrong, the above examples are in terms of parental alienation mild examples and is what happens in most child contact cases in N.Ireland to some degree.

The more serious side of parental alienation comes from the beginnings of Dr Gardeners work, in where a child was brainwashed into saying that it was sexually abused by its father, now take this into perspective a mother went as far as to make up sexual abuse allegations to gain favour in a residence case, this is not uncommon in family law in the UK and fathers will face an array of allegations in obstructive cases. An example of a case of alleged sexual abuse that happened in N.Ireland and will to be named due to reporting restrictions and the wishes of the father involved is that a mother made various allegations about the father in regards to the children during a residence case, one of them was sexual. The child was taken and examined by medical experts who declared no sexual abuse took place; the child still to this day remembers the tests she underwent when she was five years old. This is extreme parental alienation in where the mother tried to install false memories into the child that she was sexually abused by her father, what the mother did not expect in making this allegation was that the child would be medically examined. The child now resides with its father and has contact with its mother and extended family.

What I have shown you is the mild, moderate and the extreme cases of parental alienation and that it does happen in N.Ireland, I could go into more detail but for the sake of this media release I will make it as short as possible and further information can be gained by contacting Hugh Mc Cloy through the contact details that are provided.

Another question that has to be asked is why would a mother do this to its child, the obvious reason that already has been stated is to gain favour in residence and contact cases, the majority of other reasons all turn to the mother feeling that she is in control of the proceedings and that regardless of what she does because she is the mother she will be allowed to do so. By doing this a mother is putting her own interests before the child and in terms of the law this should not be allowed as the law states that the child's best interests are paramount. The following are some reasons researched into why in most cases mothers subject children to parental alienation:

  • Mother wants property, money or maximum state benefits from the father
  • The mother hates the father and uses the child as a weapon
  • The mother is egged on by women hostile towards men, usually found in groups of single mothers
  • The mother may still like the father and uses the child as a means of controlling him ( this is domestic violence when defined criminally)
  • The mother regards the child as her property
  • The mother may have come from a broken family and not able to sustain a normal relationship
  • The mother is in a new relationship and want to prove to her new partner that the child's father is irreverent to her new life

As said before this is a brief breakdown of parental alienation and a further referenced document will be released by Real Fathers For Justice N.Ireland.

Best interest

The child's best interest, what is actually in the child's best interest, when this notion is highlighted there are various different notions some of which are as follows:

  • The best interests of the child are best served by retaining the love and care of both its parents
  • A father has to prove its in the child's best interest for them to see them
  • It is in a child's best interest for a judge to make no order of contact even though there are no welfare issues

Three very different meanings and the paradox of family law continues in a state of status quo in where mum stops contact, dad applies to court, and dad wins contact. When researched the majority of cases fathers gain contact through the courts which leaves us in the current state that a child's best interest upon separating parents is:

  • To undergo a period of time with no contact with its father
  • To be investigated by social services
  • To be put through a court process to gain its ascertainable wishes
  • For its father to be forced into poverty, homelessness or unemployment due to child support or funding court cases
  • For its father to be driven into depression, alcoholism, drugs or suicide
  • For the child to be driven into depression, alcoholism, drugs, suicide, anti social behaviour
  • For a child to be left in its mothers residence in where it is more likely to be abused or killed

What is more important of all is that it is in the best interests of a child for no delay to be made in determining the welfare of the child.

"In any proceedings in which any question with respect to the upbringing of a child arises, the court shall have regard to the general principle that any delay in determining the question is likely to prejudice the welfare of the child"

Words used to describe prejudice are; injustice, bias and discrimination. By the word of the law the law defines that the welfare of a child can lawfully be abused while at the same time there is nothing in said law that will ensure that said perpetrator will be punished. But of course there can be no punishment as judges, social workers; solicitors are all involved in this delay along with the parent, usually the mother, withholding contact, all of them are equally liable to receive punishment for prejudicing cases concerning a child's welfare if our government were ever to give children the right to family life.

The delay that takes place in family law allows an abusive parent, usually the mother, to maintain an abusive residence of the child as a judge will not move residence of a child after a long period of time. This delay inadvertently causes parental alienation and in cases where children are being turned against their fathers it is only worsened by the fact that cases take so long. It is time that accountability and openness are brought into these secret dip loc proceedings that determine the welfare of children, the current state of keeping what is said behind close doors staying behind closed doors cannot be tolerated as this delay is causing parental alienation and is fuelling a state sanctioned child abuse that compares to the child abuse scandal in the republic of Ireland with children in care.

Continuing on in the child's best interest it has now been reported that an 18 month old child suffered severe physical abuse in Belfast in September. The attack was carried out by the biological mothers ex partner who is not the child's biological father, these events do happen in Northern Ireland and our children will continue to be placed mainly in their mother's residence, a residence that carries the highest risk factor for a child to be abused.

Pete Morris – Regional coordinator Northern Ireland, Real Fathers for Justice

Hugh Mc Cloy – Research and development officer, Real Fathers for Justice

"Today's problems cannot be solved at the same level of thinking that created them." ~Albert Einstein"

References Relevant to Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS)


Kids hard hit in nasty divorces

Often one parent in high conflict cases has a personality disorder. For the past 3 decades dad's have been marginalized by family courts. Many, as Howard Beal said in the movie "Network" played by Peter Finch, "I'm mad as hell and not going to take it anymore". Dad's are not disposable but the 9-1 ratio in giving mom custody by judges would have you believe otherwise. Dads are metaphorically finally standing up for their rights as a human being and a parent. Canada's divorce legislation is gender neutral. The dad is very much involved with his children as he can be given his work schedule but that is for not when he gets to family court. There is no one to blame but lawyers and judges who have set up a system that made fathers visitors and requires them to be ATM's. As a stay-at-home dad caught in that nightmare based on false allegations of abuse (also taught by unscrupulous lawyers and many in the women's support ecosystem) I know first hand the impact it has. Tie that to a personality disorder, a petulant ex not getting their way as they were advised, you do end up with a "War of the Roses". Mr. Wilson has a good idea but the response requires systemic changes not just calling out the Cavalry. A new paradigm for marriage failure is needed and the first response is a system designed to save the relationship. It needs to be widely available and could take the form of an organization like the Calgary Counselling Centre. These organizations should be partially supported by taxes, charitable membership with fees geared to income. Many marriages can be saved if help arrives early and children can be saved from the downstream battle. Lawyers may not like it because they may lose business but that is how it should be. Most of these issues are not legal as Judge Brownstone states. They are human relationship issues and need professionals not "legal beagles" pulling in $25,000.00 per client on contested divorces. Where jurisdictions have enacted presumptive shared parenting, the divorce rate has dropped. Governments need to explore these outcomes and introduce the required changes to the Divorce Act in Canada. One of the findings of such an examination might just be we can probably save some marriages with the right intervention, save a lot of grief for children, reduce the burden on family courts, save money on more judges, get high priced hired guns called lawyers out of the lives of families and longitudinally reduce a lot of the current negative social outcomes occurring to children in single parent families. PMB C-422 sitting in the federal parliament is a viable mechanism to start the process for change and almost 80% of Canadian support its intent. This crosses political party boundaries. What are we waiting for Rob Nicholson, the Federal Minister of Justice, representing Niagara Falls?MJM
Family Solutions counsellors Ted Horowitz and Linda Chodos help determine which parent gets custody in high-conflict divorces.
Children at risk, say agencies that deal with divorcing couples in conflict
October 05, 2009
Living Reporter

Toronto's Jewish Children's Aid Society has become so alarmed by the growing number of kids being used as foot soldiers in their parents' nasty divorces that it's fighting back with the biggest tool in its arsenal.

It's putting the children in foster care.

One was an 11-year-old boy so wounded by his parents' blitzkrieg of bad behaviour – from "chronic and constant" shouting and bad-mouthing, to physical violence – that he tried to slash his wrists.

"The conflict between the parents was so toxic, we felt it was emotional abuse," says Howard Hurwitz, director of children's services for the Jewish Family & Child Service of Greater Toronto, whose workers seized the boy and his increasingly withdrawn older brother after every attempt to help the parents failed.

"We thought long and hard before doing that, but removing them provided a neutral setting. We should be doing it more, as a last resort."

About 10 times a year, Hurwitz's agency is in court seeking ceasefire orders, hoping that forcing warring ex-partners into counselling, or moving children away from the conflict, will stop the feuding from escalating into the orchestrated campaign of hate known as "parental alienation."

But controversy is growing about how – and if it's even possible – to get a grip on those cases, which are proving to be one of the biggest challenges for already overburdened family court judges and child welfare experts.

The 2007 seizure of the 11-year-old and his brother, who were in care for eight months, was enough to force the parents to get help. The mother has sole custody of the kids – because the courts and social workers take the view couples who can't get along shouldn't share their offspring – but the boys remain damaged, says Hurwitz.

"We're seeing more cases where nothing else will work and the parental behaviour is so out of control, the kids are being affected. This isn't the usual kind of mudslinging you can see in divorce. It's War of the Roses stuff."

In many cases, the parents are educated, middle-class professionals who can't reach a divorce settlement on their own or with the help of a lawyer. They have the money and means to wage to-the-death battles over custody and assets.

Others act out because they are unable, or unwilling, to sell the house and move on. Some lawyers refer to these assaults as "divorce dating" – a way to keep the passion going, at least in a courtroom, after one partner pulls the plug.

It takes about two years to move from relationship breakdown to a new life, research has shown. But that can become a lifetime of suffering if parents leave the kids teetering on an emotional weigh scale, fearful of the consequences if they talk too long on the phone with Dad, or have too much fun at the birthday party thrown by Mom, or ask to spend more time with one parent's new family.

About 38 per cent of marriages end in divorce before the 30th anniversary. That translates into 70,000 divorces a year in Canada. And then there's the growing number of common-law and same-sex couples with children who may not be able to afford mediation/arbitration to settle disputes and are turning to the courts, instead.

While most separating couples are able to work out settlements civilly – around their kitchen tables or in the offices of mediators, arbitrators or collaborative law experts – family law lawyers estimate 10 to 15 per cent are so "high conflict," they can spend years, and their life savings, battling in family court over everything, right down to pillowcases.

Veteran family law lawyer Jeffery Wilson has said it's time for more drastic measures – a government-funded high-conflict response team that could step in before these cases hit the courts.

The team would have the power to sort out complex disputes, impose binding judgments, and get the kids, as well as their parents, counselling and treatment.

Hurwitz became so concerned five years ago about "how crappy a job we were doing" with children of high-conflict divorce that he called a meeting of experts from some 30 agencies in the GTA – children's aid workers, family law lawyers, police officers, judges and psychologists – to see if his agency was alone.

The two-hour meeting revealed that most were burned out and struggling with the fallout of family feuds. Teachers and relatives were calling Children's Aid, worried about kids who were severely depressed because of their parents' fighting.

Out of that meeting, the High Conflict Forum was born.

The group has met regularly since then to create protocols and counselling specific to high-conflict separation. It has also developed a 46-page "best practices" guide for professionals dealing with family breakdown, detailing the latest research as well as continuing debate over how best to deal with high-conflict couples.

In May, the group launched the first training sessions for front-line workers and can't keep up with demand.

"We tell parents, `Here is what you can expect of your kids,'" says Hurwitz. "`They will have adjustment difficulties into adulthood, they will have problematic relationships, a higher incidence of mental health problems, they will drop out of school. Despite your desire that your child will be a doctor, lawyer or an accountant, it isn't going to happen unless you change your ways.'

"We tell them that emotional harm is a form of child abuse and grounds for child welfare involvement and protection. The courts have supported our contention that it is, too."

But front-line workers are crippled by a drastic lack of services to deal with these families – and confusion, even controversy, over which remedies work.

Where judges have been slow in the past to crack down – for instance, on mothers who simply refuse to hand the kids over to dad on his access days, or fathers who try to turn the kids against their mom – many are getting tougher.

But there's growing concern that inflicting what North York family court judge Harvey Brownstone calls "the capital punishment of family law" – denying parents custody of their children or shipping the kids of to "deprogramming" workshops – may do more harm than good.

"People are trying to use the legal system to address problems that are not really legal," says Brownstone, author of the bestseller Tug of War: A Judge's Verdict on Separation, Custody Battles, and the Bitter Realities of Family Court. "If someone is suffering from so much pain at the end of a relationship that they cannot focus on their children and try to deal with the other parent in a civilized way, that is not a legal issue; that is a problem that needs counselling."

North York social worker Ted Horowitz has had a clear view of family dysfunction through the one-way mirrored glass at his Family Solutions office – and some ugly insights into how oblivious some parents can be to how their actions affect their kids. Such as the father who spent his time with his children, under Horowitz's watchful eye, building a gun out of Lego.

"Now, if ever there was a time you were going to build a Lego castle, don't you think this would be it?" laughs Horowitz, who was assessing the father's ability to be unsupervised with his kids.

Horowitz and his colleagues (who also do mediation and counselling with troubled families) are often asked by judges to assess parents, to help the court sort out custody issues, and are among the growing ranks of so-called "parenting coordinators."

A major part of their work is helping parents lay out their new life, word for excruciating word, in "parenting plans" that can stretch 12 to 15 pages and spell out everything from when the kids can call the other parent to who's responsible for the hockey equipment.

Brownstone calls experts like Family Solutions the "gold standard" in helping warring couples stay out of court.

The only problem? It can take at least two months, and often six or eight, to do those important assessments, and they cost $15,000 to $30,000, putting them well out of reach for most families. Children's Aid societies also offer some family counselling, but Jewish Family & Child Service's Hurwitz says there's a drastic shortage of counsellors qualified to treat high-conflict couples and their kids.

It turns out it's not just the big issues – custody and division of assets – that are the most explosive issues for estranged couples, Horowitz says. Often it's everyday issues – what time can I pick up the kids, should they have a cellphone, when can they see their grandparents?

Firsts can be real minefields. God forbid if Dad gives Joey's loose tooth a tug during his weekend visit, cutting Mom out of the fun when the Tooth Fairy comes to visit.

"I've seen situations where Mom has taken the child to get their first haircut and Dad is so upset, he takes them again the very next week," says social worker Linda Chodos, a member of the Family Solutions team.

"Something I've never included in a parenting plan, but I may start, is a clause on tattoos and piercings," says Horowitz, who lists those among the many new curses, right up there with cellphones, MSN and webcam usage, that can be complicated enough for loving parents to agree on, let alone high-conflict couples.

But figuring out what's really playing out in family law courtrooms isn't that complicated most of the time, Chodos contends.

"The haircut isn't really about hair. It's about loss – a loss of control, a loss of hopes and dreams. These parents didn't expect this was how their family was going to be."


Speed up the process for children issues

I am a father of a 14 and 13 year old children, who's wife left the home 6 months ago and took the children to a new house along with 80 % of household goods.Even with being willing to pay whatever I have the court system is painfully slow to address issues regarding the children. One parent can in effect attempt to run out the clock so status quo will set in. One emergency motion 3 months ago was put over as judge only had 5 minutes that day to discuss it but did suggest family counselling . Another motion will now be needed to have a parental assessment as no agreement on counselling can be had .Meanwhile children's suffering hsd only started with no end in site and any moneys for higher education will surely go to lawyers.I cannot in good conscience accede to demands of unstable ex.

Submitted by decentdad at 7:51 AM Monday, October 05 2009

Government Enablers

Children's aid society, family court and the police are very often biased in favour of the Mother and act as enablers of abusive behavior. They are part of the problem and NOT part of the solution.

Submitted by Denis Pakkala at 8:00 AM Monday, October 05 2009

Long Overdue

I am glad to see this issue is being addressed. I am a home daycare provider and had the experience of caring for two school age children of divorcing parents. It broke my heart to see how these two kids were being affected by their parents' nasty fight. I usually only dealt with the mom, as the dad lived in another town. The mom would bad mouth the dad constantly, right in front of the kids. Amongst other things, the parents used the receipt I issued to the mom for daycare fees, as an issue to fight over -- to the point where the dad threatened to take ME to court because I wouldn't issue him a receipt (I did not ever receive a penny from him). I know it was all about his control over his ex-wife, but the kids were constantly caught in the middle. The 7 year old boy was clearly suffering from depression, yet the parents were so caught up in their own issues, he was ignored. Very sad situation.

Submitted by bananabread61 at 8:49 AM Monday, October 05 2009

When ego`s take the wheel,you are in for a wreck`m race.

Is it not funny,that we have to get extensive training to get a drivers license,but get a marriage license without the slightest notion,how to avoid and steer clear of the obstacles we for sure will encounter in a marriage,because nobody is spared the trials and tribulations of married life.It often turns into a power-struggle and a big ego-fight,where the battle can take on a life of its own and where winning becomes the goal and the kids the collateral damage.If a childless couple wants to divorce,that should not be a problem.There it only involves the ones doing the battle,but the children in a divorce are the innocent victims caught in the crossfire.A course in being married and being a parent should be mandatory.This is more important than a course and license to drive a vehicle.

Submitted by Aristotelis at 8:54 AM Monday, October 05 2009

So tragic

Such a sad story. No right or wrong perspectives here: can't just blame the mother, can't just blame the father, definitely can't blame the kids. How sad for the families and our society when relationships break down so badly that spouses become arch-enemies. I think perhaps if any of us have friends going down this route we all try our best to be reasonable adults and make the tortured couples seek counseling and help before going to war.

Submitted by pingpong at 8:57 AM Monday, October 05 2009

Look at the antecedents before calling the Cavalry

Often one parent in high conflict cases has a personality disorder. For the past 3 decades dad's have been marginalized by family courts. Dad's are not disposable but the 9-1 ratio in giving mom custody by judges would have you believe otherwise. More dads are finally standing up for their rights as a human being and a parent. Canada's divorce legislation is gender neutral. The dad is very much involved with his children as he can be given his work schedule but that is for not when he gets to family court. There is no one to blame but lawyers and judges who have set up a system that made fathers visitors and requires them to be ATM's. As a stay-at-home dad caught in that nightmare based on false allegations of abuse (also taught by unscrupulous lawyers and many in the women's support ecosystem) I know first hand the impact it has. Tie that to a personality disorder, a petulant ex not getting their way as they were advised, you do end up with a "War of the Roses".

Submitted by Mike Murphy at 9:06 AM Monday, October 05 2009

It Isn't Always The Parents Fault

With nearly 30 years as a Registered Marriage And Family Therapist I have and still am involved in cases where the lawyers use power and control tactics and judges are ill equipped to understand what is in the best interest of children of all ages. The legal system must be educated to the long term effects of win/lose tactics in family matters. Judges who have used these tactics with their own families should be banned from sitting on family law cases. More accountability in the legal system is required!

Submitted by Marilyn Barnicke Belleghem at 9:07 AM Monday, October 05 2009

Systemic Changes needed

A new paradigm for marriage failure is needed and the first response is a system designed to save the relationship. It needs to be widely available and could take the form of an organization like the Calgary Counselling Centre. These organizations should be partially supported by taxes, charitable membership with fees geared to income. Many marriages can be saved if help arrives early and children can be saved from the downstream battle. Lawyers may not like it because they may lose business but that is how it should be. Most of these issues are not legal as Judge Brownstone states. They are human relationship issues and need professionals not "legal beagles" pulling in $25,000.00 per client on contested divorces.

Submitted by Mike Murphy at 9:13 AM Monday, October 05 2009

A presumption of equality in and after marriage

Where jurisdictions have enacted presumptive shared parenting, the divorce rate has dropped. Governments need to explore these outcomes and introduce the required changes to the Divorce Act in Canada. One of the findings of such an examination might just be we can probably save some marriages with the right intervention, save a lot of grief for children, reduce the burden on family courts, save money on more judges, get high priced hired guns called lawyers out of the lives of families and longitudinally reduce a lot of the current negative social outcomes occurring to children in single parent families. PMB C-422 sitting in the federal parliament is a viable mechanism to start the process for change and almost 80% of Canadian support its intent. This crosses political party boundaries. What are we waiting for Rob Nicholson, the Federal Minister of Justice, representing Niagara Falls?

Submitted by Mike Murphy at 9:26 AM Monday, October 05 2009


What parents need to know is that if Mom denies her children the right to see Dad out of pettiness and spite, when he is loving and stable, the kids will grow to hate her. Same goes if the situation is reversed. And if you bad mouth your spouse in front of the kids, you better believe they will resent you for it one day. If you want your children to love and respect you, if you want to have functional relationships with them once THEY are adults, then work it out like reasonable human beings, don't devolve into bickering, self-interested idiots. Once your kids are adults, if you've damaged them enough, they will withdraw from you and may even cut off contact. I'm sure that's not what parents want, but that's what they're doing.

Submitted by HMA at 10:31 AM Monday, October 05 2009

collaborative law?

It makes me want to puke. Most collaborative lawyers are like sales people fingering bibles or crucifixes in front of you while asking you to trust them. They have no financial interest in a settlement and every financial interest in making sure it takes as long as possible to settle. Parties are generally better off with two lawyers with communications skills who have the ethics and reputations for "settling"

Submitted by Ned Kelly Ottawa at 10:46 AM Monday, October 05 2009

parents at war

I myself went through a divorce 6 years ago, at a time when coparenting was in effect. It changed right at that time back to sole custody. The reason,studies were showing that coparenting was actually creating wars between parents. The kids were suffering. And now 6 years later since sole custody has been granted more often than coparenting they are thinking about going back to coparenting.Why? I can only come to the conclusion that its the parents that do not have sole custody complaining. They obviously have no regard for the studies proven on children suffering from coparenting. These people are selfish and thinking of themselves not the children.

Submitted by Gruvygirl at 11:43 AM Monday, October 05 2009

What Studies Gruvygirl

Gruvygirl - please supply the studies you speak of. Sole custody has been the norm for 30 years. There may be a time warp my research has missed and if you have it the information would be appreciated.

Submitted by Mike Murphy at 11:59 AM Monday, October 05 2009

There is very little hope

After 2.5 years and a trial, the police and childrens aid finally attended at the home of my ex to apprehend the children from my ex who was destroying them with her campaign of parental alienation. I had money and education and time to fight this, nevertheless, it was brutal. Since she had the kids she was able to hide behind them, using them to grab huge amounts of child support, make false allegations and generally behave extremely poorly. Nobody would do anything to her since 'they were worried about the best interestes of the kids'. While all of this went on the courts basically just frowned at her. Based on my experience, by default the woman gets the kids and winning custody yourself is extremely difficult. However, the kids did see through her very quickly and want nothing to do with her. Tragic - but the system is setup to support false allegations to buttress a child and money grab. It's only logical for the mother to use them.....good luck girls!

Submitted by M from RIchmond Hill at 12:20 PM Monday, October 05 2009

Why so self-motivated, all?

I am so tired of this daily battle in this forum. Yes, there are dads who are hard done by by moms, but YES, there are even more moms hard done by by dads - just look at the single mom poverty stats, the misuse of police in such cases, and who is usually on the receiving end of false PAS allegations. EACH CASE IS DIFFERENT. There ARE abusive men out there who should NOT get an autopass to their kids' lives. And when are you people going to give kids credit for their own thoughts? My three are all teens, and they are smart enough to judge who the loving parent is and who uses the word "love" in a manner inconsistent with their actions. IT DEPENDS is the only logical answer on custody and blame.

Submitted by Under Attack at 12:23 PM Monday, October 05 2009

Hey Gruvygirl

I completely agree with you. I'm sure you'd be saying the same thing if YOU lost "sole custody" to your ex if he has lied in order to win that custody. It's easy to quote studies (even non-existent ones) when you've got the near-sighted courts on your side.

Submitted by reader123456 at 12:32 PM Monday, October 05 2009

With all due respect Aristotle, comparing driving with marriage in the form of legality and licensing is silly, and ineffective. Asking people to take a course on marriage is not going to necessarily make better parents,or make them more adept to handling divorces better. People forget.Plus,most people don't like to be told what to do. And,well,you can't bring the State into the bedroom,house, etc. on how married people choose to live their lives,if it's within the confines of the law. But,what you can do is,likely through common law procedures to start,make it an offence for parents to be bickering and blackmailing each other at the cost of the children.The offence would be founded on the crime of abuse.Parents will think twice about battling in front of the kids,involving the kids, etc. Perhaps,if one couple goes too far,a court ordered mediary should be present controlling the communication.Removing the children from the battle is the only way.Foster care is a great example as well.

Submitted by chipgirl at 12:33 PM Monday, October 05 2009

supreme court of canada

Yes sole custody has been the norm. But 5-6 years ago, (I don't remember the exact year), judges were awarding a lot more coparenting than sole custody,believing this was beneficial to children. An article in the Toronto Star was published about the Supreme Court of Canada deciding that coparenting was not proving to be effective with parents at war.(which is usually the majority of divorces) and thereby made a recommendation to rethink coparenting and move back to sole custody. You can archive in Toronto Star or maybe through Supreme Court of Canada.

Submitted by Gruvygirl at 12:38 PM Monday, October 05 2009

Being the product of a broken home

and never having known either bio parent, I always thought that I had been short changed but after reading the comments attached to this article I wonder that I perhaps am a lucky casuality. I am 65 years old.

Submitted by snazzy at 12:45 PM Monday, October 05 2009

sad but realistic

my parents got divorced when I just entered Grade 9, 15 yr old girl.... my mother did everything & bended over backwards trying to be the good parent & never said anything bad about my father, always told us he loved us in his own way... meanwhile, when we visisted dad he ranted & raved at us 3 little girsl about having to pay child support & how horrible, worthless my mother was, and how he wished her dead..... what a bastard. life was hell, was depressed, nearly became a statistic... it was a good 7 years before it all settled down. The sad truth is even IF help is available to parents - some are too SELFISH to see past their own pain & disappointment to care for their children. I support removing the children to another family member or foster family... any stability or show of normalcy will be a god-send to children dying for a real role model.

Submitted by cynthia at 12:57 PM Monday, October 05 2009

Avoid the Courts and Lawyers

At all cost. And life will be so much easier. This stuff always boils down to money. The kids have very little to do with it. I'm not sure why anyone would want the government in their private matters in the first place. I'm living proof that this stuff can be sorted out and both parents live better lives. To many people want the government to do their dirty work for them, it's about as sickening as it gets IMHO.

Submitted by Pete at 1:00 PM Monday, October 05 2009

A Father's side

I miss my kids every day. I am divorced 8 yrs now and have never missed any of my visits and will do anything to spend time with my kids. Having said this I think it is best that the kids have one home. They also need one set of rules supported by both parents. It is about the children and while I think I would make a good parent I think my ex is a good parent as well. Please remember it is about the children.

Submitted by Phaderus at 1:11 PM Monday, October 05 2009

Lobbying for change

Thanks for this important and well written, balanced series. The Ontario Law Commission is undertaking research regarding the Family Court System, and will be incorporating user experience. They also have an excellent web-site. Participating in this research is one way parents who have found the court process destructive, can share their insight, perspective and experience, with an influential body. And both mothers and fathers can join support and advocacy groups that are 'net based. This is especially valuable for those who don't have access to support groups in their home communities.

Submitted by Annabelle Twilley at 1:12 PM Monday, October 05 2009

RE: Mike Murphy

your post is particularly offensive to me... I remember our Minister @ Church trying to do everything he could to guilt my mother into going back to my father..."for your children's sake"... for the record---some marriages & relationship are BETTER disolved than kept. I would not have survived to be a successful adult in ANY way if I had remained in my father's caustic bitter environment. People don't get divorced until they are SURE they are beyond repair & can't take it any more.... to try to push them into staying in an unhappy environment does not set a good example for the kids. Happiness is key to emotional health---there are lots of mature happy mixed/separated families.... its not about "saving the marriage"--- its about being mature before/during/after marriage for the kids sake.

Submitted by cynthia at 1:18 PM Monday, October 05 2009

Excellent Series!

Unfortunately everyone loses in a divorce but it's especially heartbreaking to see the effect it has on the children. They are too often used as pawns in the conflict.

Submitted by averagejoeschmoe at 1:29 PM Monday, October 05 2009

what does sole custody actually mean

Sole custody has given me no more rights than someone without. My exhusband and I cannot make any medical,religious,educational decisions,vacation and birthdays without eachother. We cannot leave the country with children without eachother approval and signatures for passports. Extracurricular must also be discussed. The only thing that leaves is where the children live most of the time. It was agreed that children live with me as we both realized that it was to hard on kids to bounce them from home to home. He comes and goes as he pleases. People who are cooperative and mature find the word sole custody just that, a word.

Submitted by Gruvygirl at 1:32 PM Monday, October 05 2009

Did you have a lapse of Memory

Gruveygirl. Its not uncommon for someone to support an argument on non-existent studies. It happens all the time surrounding family law and DV. You are just one of many who have memory lapses when asked to actually supply the info. By the way the SCC is not an entity that deals with studies as a rule. It deals with the law.

Submitted by Mike Murphy at 1:33 PM Monday, October 05 2009

Presumptive Equal Parenting

seems in Australia to have already lowered the divorce rate. That's because our current divorce regime is overwhelmingly tilted in favor of the conflictual parent who wants to get the other parent completely out of her(mostly)/his and the child[ren]'s lives. False accusations are all reward and lets face it Your Honor -- NO RISK. There is a simple way to level the playing field in the case of unsubstantiated allegations of domestic violence. Ban each parent from the house on alternate weeks -- the kids stay put. If there's a concern for the children's welfare, relatives or paid caregivers can stay with the parent when with the kids. Obviously providing accommodation for children at two different locations costs money and that most family incomes will require significant changes in accommodation.

Submitted by George Not Bush at 1:47 PM Monday, October 05 2009

System is broken

One husband cheated, mentally abused his wife and they separated. He made false claims that she was mentally unstable, won temporary custody and often denied her supervised access. A psychiatrist found no mental illness and the Ontario Children’s Lawyer (OCL)recommended joint-shared custody. His lawyer suppressed a 2nd psychiatric report by his expert and invoked litigation privilege to keep the results secret. A 2nd OCL investigation found he had psychologically manipulated his child. The 2nd psychiatric report was obtained, showing no mental illness. He agreed to joint-shared custody, 4 years after the temporary custody ruling. We want to change the law so that litigation privilege is not attached to third party reports where children are involved. It was in the father’s interests to lie to obtain custody, and then to create delays to obtain a status quo advantage. There are no consequences for unethical tactics, so they continue. The child is happier now, but has suffered greatly.

Submitted by Garam at 1:58 PM Monday, October 05 2009

All about money

I agree with Pete...it's about the money and the squeaky wheel gets it. Women have the lobby and the power here. No judge who wants to further his career would dare buck the status quo. Women think they are hard done by at every turn and complain about it...men are much more stoic by nature...so we've stood by and watched this travesty develop to the ridiculously unfair system we now have. The kids go where the cheques go, and that is to the mother, of course under the tired old veil of 'what's best for the kids'.

Submitted by blubchub at 2:01 PM Monday, October 05 2009

One of the heaviest factors for the downfall of North American society is the family law justice miscarriages that live on for the lives of all affected. I know speaking personally. It's not quite as marketable as kids who grow up in war zones, but what is the real difference when your parents are trying to mess with your head to win, and play a zero-sum game of victory with no rules?

Submitted by Common Loon at 2:04 PM Monday, October 05 2009

RE: Cynthia

I too came from a bitterly divorced set of parents. Do not assume that people get divorced after they have tried EVERYTHING. It used to be that in the case of infidelity, the one who cheated looked somewhat less favourable in the courts eyes...not anymore. Do you know who pressured to have that changed Cynthia? Women's groups... There are wrongdoers on both sides, to deny this fact would relieve yourself of any credibility, however the LAWS all heavily favour women. It is too easy for them to walk rather than work at it, whereas a sentence of mourning the loss of being with your kids along with insane support payments await the father(most times)...I don't know how many women I have heard proclaim..."He could never afford to leave me!" as all the women in earshot laugh out loud.

Submitted by blubchub at 2:10 PM Monday, October 05 2009

cynthia is offended at 1:18 PM Monday, October 05 2009

Would you elaborate on what you find offensive. It is unclear to me in how your sensitivities have been torn asunder.

Submitted by Mike Murphy at 2:17 PM Monday, October 05 2009

@ Cynthia

I don't understand your hate. I'm sorry to hear what you had to go through but I view Mike Murphy's posts as championing presuming shared custody. Of course, if one party or another are unfit as parents then custody is removed but it would curb the abuses that are inherent in the system. Let's not deny that as human beings (not men or women) we can be all be equally and violently destructive emotionally or physically. For every person whose father was a creep, there's another whose mother was just as creepy. I think the way out of this is to remove the police and courts from the front end of the system and focus on counselling both before, during and after marriage.

Submitted by golfingsteve at 2:19 PM Monday, October 05 2009

Re: Pete

As far as avoiding courts an lawyers at all costs, sometimes one parent has to stand up and take it that far just for the chance to see their child. My parents tried to do it the lawyer free way, and 10 years later they were still not legally divorced, only separated, because they could not come to an agreement. Not only that, but we had no regular visitation with our father because who was there to enforce it? We would have benefited from the structure and the resolution that maybe could have been reached had lawyers or mediators been involved. If you can avoid it and work it out, by all means, but sometimes it's necessary. Dragging kids through over a decade of limbo in order to avoid it at "all costs" isn't the right thing to do either. It varies from situation to situation. By the way, they're still not divorced. Luckily it isn't my problem anymore!

Submitted by HMA at 2:20 PM Monday, October 05 2009

Avoid divorced people

Divorced people don't fight fair, that's part of the problem. They also learn how to use their kids as pawns. They're desperate and embattled and we all know that misery loves company.

Submitted by greta3au at 3:16 PM Monday, October 05 2009

"parenting plans" that can stretch 12 to 15 pages..."!!!

I find it entirely disturbing that people need 'help' to love their children - it feels like people are becoming more and more incompetent - rather than smarter as time goes on and there is no boundaries to selfishness (parents in this case)...

Submitted by karina at 3:41 PM Monday, October 05 2009

Selfish 'wealthy' people need to grow up and get over it.

So these affluent parents can spend an unlimited amount of money on court wars and lawyer fees to bicker over pillowcases, but the assessment cost of $15,000 -$30,000, for the sake of their children, is out of reach. Nice. I don't understand how some people can be so selfish. You chose this person to be the father/mother of your children, so let them be one!

Submitted by stargazer at 3:48 PM Monday, October 05 2009

Lawyers Make It Worse.

I am the father in one of these such cases. I did not fight for custody, I did not fight against spousal support, I did not fight against child support. I made a list of EVERYTHING we owned and submitted it to my wife for her to check off what items she wanted. Only six items were desired by both of us. We agreed to split these 6 things. On the day she came to get everything, I went out for the day to allow her access alone. She took everything we had agreed to split. I didn't care, I didn't fight it, I didn't ever even mention it her. She got a new lawyer, because the first lawyer wasn't fighting hard enough - and the real conflict started. Right away she tried to take away the one thing from the marriage that I wanted and needed - regular access to our children. I had conceded cusody to her to save the children from harm - her new lawyer told her I saw our children too much and I could theoretically challenge the amount of child support I pay.

Submitted by passenger at 4:15 PM Monday, October 05 2009

Lawyers Make It Worse.

Luckily a judge upheld the interim agreement and my access was never altered. I never ever challenged the amount of child support. The only reason we ended up in front of a judge was because of her application to restrict my access, and then a year later she brought another application to have me pay for childcare, which I would have been willing to pay my share had she been willing to produce receipts and/or allow me to do the daycare myself. Her lawyer, knowing she was attempting to defraud me for false daycare expenses, dropped the application on the day of trial. Then she made an application for her 'court costs' in all three proceedings. The judge awarded her no legal fees and in her decision found that my ex-wife had been less than honest in her testimony and had in fact attempted to block a legitimate parent from seeing his children.

Submitted by passenger at 4:16 PM Monday, October 05 2009

Lawyers Make It Worse

Sometimes one parent does all the fighting alone to make it appear as if there is unresolvable conflict in order that the court never consider jojnt custody. Lawyers advise their clients on this tactic. I should say that what I've described is the first three years of separation. The six years since then we get along fine. Our children have lived with me the past 5 years with my ex-wife's consent and not once have I even considered going back to court and changing the custody/support orders.

Submitted by passenger at 4:17 PM Monday, October 05 2009

Cross Canada Run For The Children

Please visit http://www.crosscanadarun4thechildren.com/ to see how you can help protect the Children of Canada from the destructive Canadian "Family" Justice System. The Canadian Government is failing the Children of this country and it needs to be stopped!!! For the sake of the children, Equal Shared Parenting needs to be the presumptive mandate in our Courts. Please write to your Member of Parliament and ask them to support Equal Shared Parenting Private Members Bill C-422.

Submitted by 72daysforthekids at 4:57 PM Monday, October 05 2009

RE:Cross Canada Run For The Children

I had to post another comment when I saw this 'Cross Canada Run For The Children' comment. It is Runs like this, attitudes like this, misinformation like this that perpetuates the myth that parents should share in equal custody of their children. Children are not better off jockeying back and forth between two households in an equal manner. This idea is so disruptive and harmful to the children (unless the parents live very close to one another) that one has to try and examine what is behind this 'seemingly' fair solution to custody and access. We didn't see such attempts to make it 'fair' until governements on all levels clamped down on delinquent support payors and made it almost impossible to finacially skip out on your children. Now that delinquent parents are being forced to pay up, we see these new tactics of holding the children hostage with the use of inappropriate mantras such as "for the sake of the children!" For the sake of the children, stop the fight.

Submitted by passenger at 5:37 PM Monday, October 05 2009

Loving the Kids

I know that dashed hopes and hurt feelings can lead to revenge. The EGO kicks in and the battle is on for control. The offspring become pawns on the chessboard, pushed around so one or the other parent can win. No Dad should be a paying visitor and no Mom should be left to raise the children without support. Here is the solution - Love the kids, do your part and compromise. If you are using your children to get back at the other partner you have your priorities mixed up. Would you deliberatley hurt your own children? If you love them the answer is NO. Ego out, Love in!

Submitted by Naha N at 5:46 PM Monday, October 05 2009

Hey, yelling dads, did equal shared parenting happen in your house before your split?

Probably not, right? Research shows moms, working or not, still do the majority of the work related to raising the kids. So where the heck were you THEN? Mine was with everything that moved. Now THERE'S something NOT in the best interests of the children. For the record, I'm not blindly angry at him...I just think he was REALLY stupid in his choices. I cannot imagine my three kids being shuttled against their will. MAYBE my oldest won his $60000 in scholarships from high school because a stable home was my priority for them, while their father "fought" out of "love", and now we are poor. Forget Dad's Rights, boys. Get some counselling to let go of those egos that need to "win", and find the true meaning of love. Really? Kids have no minds of their own? Mine do, all three of them, and they are about the stablest, brightest and happiest kids I know. So there.

Submitted by Under Attack at 6:06 PM Monday, October 05 2009


The government has on their own webite documents examining shared equal parenting. Although forgetting one's pajamas might be a burden to you, a son growing up with a father as a visitor only has far greater consequences for both the child and society as a whole. The stability argument is laughable. And you are right, feminists hate that men have any say or control in raising their children and instead see them as financial slaves to serve the likes of people like yourself. I have my children 50%, and I don't have to pay support as both my ex and myself earn similar salaries, and it is great for our children. The mom loves it too. You're post is the only myth around here.

Submitted by MensRightsNow at 6:16 PM Monday, October 05 2009

@ Underattack 6:06 pm

I don't see any yelling here but did you know when you use caps it is considered yelling. Just a thought. Your premise that dads and moms have a gap in terms of work around the home is wrong. In some countries in fact men do more. Three economists, Michael Burda of Humboldt University in Berlin, Daniel Hamermesh of the University of Texas, and Philippe Weil of the Free University of Brussels have analyzed data from surveys in 25 countries that ask people how they spend their time. In Sweden, Norway, and the Netherlands, men actually work more than women, although the differences are small. By and large across the US there is less than 20 minutes separating the two genders.

Submitted by Mike Murphy at 6:27 PM Monday, October 05 2009

the deliquent support payor lie

As the child of a broken marriage I've seen first hand the games that get played and the destruction it brings. Frankly I think the system is biased towards women to the point where it frequently ignores evidence of a mother's inability to care for her children. This is obviously not all mothers but it doesn't matter. There are enough. And the frequent claim that men are delinquent in support payments is a tool used to maintain these types of inequitable and tragic situations. Deadbeat is a label that can be applied to anyone late on a payment. Do we label everyone who misses a bill payment a thief? We do not. It's a false argument with false statistics. That's just the tip of the iceberg. Until there is honesty and equity in the system children will suffer. If you care about your kids, regardless of your gender, you'll get involved. How many destroyed and lost lives do we need to see until we open our eyes to the tragedy that is our family courts?

Submitted by Nerd at 6:36 PM Monday, October 05 2009

@Under Attack on Shared Parenting

You appear very bitter over your ex's actions and that is unfortunate. You make the mistake though of trying to look through your own veil of acrimony and superimpose that on the rest of fathers and men. That is called discrimination/bias and if you were to extend the same feelings toward a visible minority because one had wronged you - well is that the "R" word? All studies show children do far better in an environment with both parents equally involved and that includes a week about rotation. My 11 year old knows she has two parents who love her dearly and has no trouble adapting - unless her mother starts to alienate her. Children are far more resilient than you think given both parents can keep the kids out of their own dysfunctional relationship. If one can't control themselves and keep the kids involved in the dispute they ought to lose custody.

Submitted by Mike Murphy at 6:37 PM Monday, October 05 2009

The kids...

Any time there is break-up, everyone's hurt. But the Kids are always the front and centre on taking the biggest LOAD of grief. No Kids ever want thier parents get divorce. I always wonder about all those pormises people made when they get marry... they dont seems to stand when a family is in hardship I wonder why. For some reasons people could only become defensive on what should be their rights or properties... Maybe it is a good time to think what is best for the kids.

Submitted by LeafsreallyStink at 6:40 PM Monday, October 05 2009

To Passenger.....Open your mind.

TRY to think beyond your blindness.What if the father was less than a visitor WHEN he lived with us? What if he hit us? What if he did not help one child with one stitch of homework in 13 years? What if he flaunted his affairs in FRONT of the children? If he left, and his illness was a consequence of a bad marriage, and then became a loving father, they would have forgiven him. Instead, he set out to wage a public war to "kill" me, their mother, totally at their expense,and they have decided this is not OK. He stalked, misued the law, withheld money THEY desperately needed for LESSONS and SPORTS.Admitted to them he "wouldn't" send money, not that he "couldn't". If the parent, male OR female, is mentally ill and unable to parent, then is it not just possible one parent CAN moer ably raise a child? You are myoptic.Only one possible outcome. Equal shared parenting. I see OPTIONS depending on CIRCUMSTANCES. Government studies were not hit by the man who hit us.

Submitted by Under Attack at 6:49 PM Monday, October 05 2009

Parents are responsible for children

In any divorce the ultimate the only children are who suffer with this split. Not even foster parents can pacify them what such children are feeling. Children do not ask anything accept love and closeness of their real parents. Parents have to compromise for sake of children not let the children in wilderness.

Submitted by Rightside at 6:55 PM Monday, October 05 2009

Divorce is killing our society ...

Divorce is too acceptable in our culture and society. Our poor kids are hurting and we don't care. It's all about self grafification and selfishness, if it's broken buy a new one, don't even think about fixing it. We need to remove self-centeredness and selfishness from our society.

Submitted by Triumvirat at 7:03 PM Monday, October 05 2009

under attack

Settle down. Shared parenting would not enable abusive men, and of course women to take part. Of course, you would have to prove your allegations as men and women are innocent until you can prove otherwise. That said, in your situation, YOU chose YOUR husband. Are your posts more of a reflection of YOU or your ex-husband (whom we assume would present a different side to your relationship). Sorry, but tiny little anecdotes of abusive men, or terrible wives doesn't negate that, where possible, children should have both parents in their lives equally.

Submitted by MensRightsNow at 7:30 PM Monday, October 05 2009